A Profile of Inmates Admitted to the Special Handling Unit in the Correctional Service of Canada

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McQuaid, Sarah




The Special Handling Unit (SHU) is a prison facility that provides increased supervision and restrictions for inmates who cannot be appropriately managed at a maximum-security institution. SHU confinement differs from other types of segregation (e.g., administrative) in criteria for admission and severity of restrictions. The first purpose of this study was to identify the distinguishing characteristics of SHU inmates in comparison to administrative segregation inmates from a large sample of Canadian federal inmates (N = 3666). The second purpose was to identify common problems experienced by SHU inmates (N = 32), and determine the presence of subtypes of inmates for whom unique programming may be warranted. Results indicated violent behaviours, among other characteristics, to be particularly relevant for SHU inmates. However, distinct SHU subtypes were not identified. The author concluded that differential programming may not be necessary, and expressed the need for prospective research regarding the efficacy of the SHU.






Carleton University

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